October 11, 2010

Cereus: Happy for Now

Look what I woke up to last Sunday morning!

Seven Cereus Blooms
My night blooming cactus (a pass along from MaaMaa) had seven blooms.

I don't make it a habit to wake up at dawn on the weekends, but Travis had to get up for band rehearsal, and when he told me that my cactus (technically an epiphyllum) was holding court, my groggy brain realized that if I didn't get outside before 9 a.m., there would be nothing to see but spent blooms.

The flowers are so elegant. They open at night and last for only a few hours. This one opened the following evening. When I photographed the bud, it was covered in motionless orange aphids that looked like pollen on the wrong side of the bloom.

At first, I had my doubts that these were aphids, but here's proof. If you look closely, you can see their tiny black legs.

It has been a while since my cereus (yet another of its names) has bloomed. It prefers part-sun so when we brought it home, I set it in a good spot near the front door. It was happy, and I liked seeing unexpected blooms when I came home after dark, but I never intended the spot to be its permanent home.

Night Blooming Cereus - New location DSC_0042
Later, when I needed the part-sun location for new plants, I moved the cereus to sunny spot in the backyard. I rationalized that the fence would cast a shadow and the west sun wouldn't be too intense. If I had moved the plant into the sun gradually, it might have been ok, but the abrupt change scorched the leaves. Oops!

Travis had pity on our sunburned specimen and moved it to its current location where it seems happy. I'm still not completely satisfied with the spot, but it will do for now.

It's hard to find a good place to display cereus since its stems are floppy yet stiff and it needs to stay in a pot so that it can be brought inside during freezing weather. I think it would do well in a large hanging basket on a porch. I don't have this setting, but my mom does so I'll see if she wants cuttings.

Parting Shot: One bloom ends its life while another's begins.

Cereus is an easy pass along plant, and mine needs a trim. If you'd like a cutting, leave me a comment with your address and I'll mail you one. (I've turned the comments off so that your address remains private.)


  1. Nice closeups. I'm attempting to grow a pass-along specimen of this plant too. Didn't realize how exquisite the blooms were. Seven blooms all at once - what a show.

  2. This plant may not have the nicest foliage but it sure puts on a wonderful display when it flowers. I, too, have been guilty of frying plants by moving them into the sun. I know better but still I do it!

  3. RBell I gave away cuttings less than a year ago and I heard from a few people who already have a bud or two that's about to open. I hope yours blooms soon.